Following a fine-level assessment by a professional ecologist, City Forests has designated a wetland area (Wangaloa Creek Wetland) in our Tokoiti Forest as a category 1 High Conservation Value Forest (FSC® category: HCVF 1). This creates a special status for this outstanding and unique wetland, and puts greater onus on us to manage and protect it.
High conservation value forest
The Wangaloa Creek wetland in the Tokomairiro Ecological District is a large (24.9 ha) wetland site that occupies a broad valley floor in the mid-reaches of Wangaloa Creek. The wetland site is L-shaped, approximately 1.5 km long and is well linked to other valley floor wetlands in the area. The Flax swamp and copper tussock vegetation is uncommon within the Tokomairiro Ecological District and accurately represents the original 1840 vegetation cover.
The wetland is still relatively intact likely due to the protection provided by the surrounding forests. 13.6 ha of the Wangaloa wetland is ‘Acutely Threatened’ due to <10% of the original indigenous vegetation cover remaining and 11.3 ha is ‘Chronically Threatened’ due to 10-20% of the original indigenous vegetation cover remaining. Four different habitat types and three wetland classes have been identified in the area allowing for a diverse range of flora and fauna to thrive. City Forests conducts annual environmental monitoring of the Wangaloa wetland, with external expert consultations also carried out periodically.
City Forests invites feedback on this HCVF area at any time through our website and also extends an invitation to anybody who would like the opportunity to visit the site.
City Forests annual monitoring programme observes the area for wilding trees from the surrounding forest, and checks for incursions of noxious weeds such as gorse and broom. Any obvious signs of vegetation disease are recorded and investigated. Detrimental effects from animal browsing are a possibility and are also noted. Water quality is sampled using the approved SHMAK rating system
The last monitoring visits were in March and July 2019. While there are some pines growing in dry patches in the wetlands these are not spreading, and in fact the surrounding plantation forest is providing remarkable protection to the wetland from weed incursion and animal browsing. There are also some small areas of woody weeds growing along the edges of the wetland in some places. However, difficult access means that removing the pines and weeds at this time will create too much disturbance. We plan to tidy these issues up following the harvest of the surrounding forest. The water quality was also sampled and is of pristine quality, there are no concerns about the condition of the wetland vegetation which is in outstanding condition.